Archive for February, 2018

Volleyball for All

Story by Bill Loving. Photos by Sheila Dixon.

Volleyball for AllKrista is a substitute teacher who recently relocated from New York. Will participates in the youth department at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Sulay is an international student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Hardy is a facilitator with the Divorce Recovery workshop. I’m an architect and sing in the choir at FBC. What do we all have in common? We play volleyball together on Tuesday nights in the FBC gym.

Twenty years ago, Tuesday night volleyball games began as an outgrowth of the Metro Singles Bible Study. Singles from around Richmond gathered at FBC for music, fellowship, and Bible study, and some of the singles began to stay afterwards and play volleyball. The Metro Singles Bible Study ended many years ago, but the volleyball games have continued.

Volleyball for AllOver the years, we’ve had singles, couples, youth and entire families come out on Tuesday nights to play volleyball. Many of the participants in the Divorce Recovery Workshops have joined us for volleyball and recently, a number of international students from Virginia Commonwealth University have joined as well.

We welcome players of all skill levels. Several people have played for many years; some have not played since gym class in middle school; and some have never played. The game is adjusted to the person’s level of play. For example, if a new player is having difficulty serving the ball, we may let them try several times or serve from closer to the net until they improve. Most of all, we provide lots of encouragement.

Games are played according to the USA Volleyball Rules, which allow players to use any part of the body to hit the ball: head, feet, and of course, hands. Each team is allowed three hits to get the ball over the net. Scoring is not dependent on who has served; whichever team wins the rally earns a point. Because rally scoring makes the game move faster, games are to 25 rather than 15 points.

Volleyball for AllPlaying volleyball hones skills that are useful both on and off the court:

Teamwork: Rather than just hitting the ball back across the net like table tennis, the team is encouraged to pass the ball and create a play. We teach a simple center-setter formation. In this formation, we pass the ball to the center front player and that player “sets” the ball to one of the other two players on the front line who can make a good, clean hit. By passing the ball to others rather than just hitting it over, players learn to play together as a team.

Communication: To play well as a team, the players have to communicate with each other. By calling the ball, a player lets other teammates know that they intend to hit it. This is particularly helpful when a ball places between two players. In a center-setter formation, the middle front person is supposed to hit the second ball. By calling “help” when the ball is not reachable, others know to go for the ball.

Trust: We teach that each player has a position for which they are responsible. Unless another player asks for help, it is better to let them miss the ball and encourage their effort than to encroach on their position. Trusting your fellow teammates allows others to grow in their skills. Also minding your assigned position leaves no holes in the defense that the opposing team could take advantage of for easy shots.

While we try to teach a bit of volleyball on Tuesdays, our gatherings are really as much about community as they are about playing volleyball. We learn to play as a team; we encourage and cheer each other; and we have fun. At the end of the night, we gather in a circle, share prayer concerns and have a closing prayer. Please come out and join us any Tuesday night from 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Bill LovingBill Loving is an architect, a graduate of Virginia Tech and a Rotarian. He has 21 years of perfect attendance with the West Richmond Rotary Club. Originally from Chesterfield, Bill now lives in the museum district. Bill has had 20+ years of volleyball at FBC and loves to sing. He is a member of the Church Choir and the Men’s Ensemble.

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by Terry L. Whipple, MD

Cynthia was a sophomore in college when she decided she wanted to become a nurse practitioner and work in women’s health. However, as an honor student in the English department, she lacked the necessary prerequisite science courses in order to apply to attend nursing school. Michael wanted to be a pharmacist like his dad, but did not take the necessary chemistry and math courses in college to qualify for pharmacy school.

Both Cynthia and Michael were frustrated when they realized that they would have to take additional semesters of undergraduate studies to obtain the necessary credits to apply for a medical program. A similar scenario is repeated every year for students interested in radiation technology, medical school, veterinary school, even counseling. Preparation for health care careers must start early to satisfy all the educational requirements.

A Health Club

Youth Health Club visits Richmond Ambulance Authority

When we saw a need to help provide youth with more information on health care professions, we formed the first Youth Health Club at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. The Health Club is a special interest club for young people in grades 9 – 12, and those who are in college, who have an interest in health care or are considering any career related to health care.

Through the activities and programs of the club, they have the opportunity to learn many of the skills and much about the subject matter related to a variety of careers in health care. And, it helps them to either affirm their interests in pursuing a health care profession and plan their college programs accordingly, or confirm that their aptitudes lie elsewhere.

A Health Club

As a club, they choose which topics they want to learn about, research those topics in teams, present their research findings to one another in lectures, and then select their next topic of study. A team of adult guides is available to assist and mentor the youth as they select the topics to research. And, the guides or guest instructors provide the participants with training in basic health services and testing, such as taking blood pressures, screening body mass index (BMI), infection prevention, or even administering hearing tests, but the youth run the Club, researching the subjects and teaching one another.

With this knowledge, the Youth Health Club participants become available to serve in the community. They are equipped to take part as an organization in Health Fairs around the city—providing education and training on the topics they have studied, and are able to administer simple medical tests for which they have trained. Additionally, they can present brief health education programs to Sunday school classes and other church groups.

Most importantly, the youth are empowered to make an informed decision on whether health care is the profession for them.

If you think you might be interested in a health care profession, this is your Club. If you’re an adult who is interested in guiding youth in what it takes to be a health care professional or are interested in mentoring youth as they research health-related topics, consider joining the adult guides. Check it out on Wednesday nights at FBC in the Youth Suite at 6:30 p.m.

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